Prof. Westengard | O628 | Fall 2022

Blog 2- Cindy R


George Haggerty stated, “normative configurations of human interaction”, I think it means the reinforcement and diffusion of behavioral norms within a society/ community that prescribes legitimacy of morals to operate within that particular environment and comes as a result of jointly interacting. These morals factors can turn into laws that needs to be obey or if not, one can be penalize or looked at as debauched. In “The Castle of Otranto” displayed Manfred asking where the enormous helmet could have come from; when the peasant from the crowd made an observation of the helmet matching the black marble of a former prince Alfonso, he was deemed as evil, villain, monster, sorcerer and imprisoned for speaking out. The peasant continues to question Manfred of what he is guilty for. The peasant challenge Manfred and go against the norms of speaking up to a superior person which progress more distress for him.

The embodiment of sexual anxiety of a victimized female were express when Manfred a father figure trying to produce an heir for his throne by forcing himself onto young Isabella, “I desired you once before,” “At those words he seized the cold hand of Isabella, who was half dead with fright and horror. She shrieked, and started from him.” (15) Manfred displayed the incestuous desire of a libidinous male when he continues to go after Isabella when she escapes from his hold. He expresses his power of being the prince to entrap her to become his and to produce heirs for him. “Since hell will not satisfy my curiosity, I will use the human means in my power for preserving my race; Isabella shall not escape me.” (16) The physical feature of the castle represents both political and sexual entrapment when Isabella went down into the tunnels of labyrinth and could not find her way without the help of Theodore. “The lower part of the castle was hollowed into several intricate cloisters; and it was not easy for one under so much anxiety to find the door that opened into the cavern.” (17) Isabella was trap for the reason of being that she is a female and having the ability to conceive; and in the presence of Manfred who has power and control over a kingdom while a castle promotes status as well as a prison for some who lives in it.

I think castles and any building that has an architecture of neoclassical structures, and the use of tall columns, symmetrical shapes, triangular pediments, and domed roofs display political agenda. Castles are the embodiment of political and sexual entrapment because the physical features alone express power and status. Having power and status allows one to take control and having control permits sexual entrapment as well. In “The Castle of Otranto” express the dark tunnels and many doors that lead to different places but are hard to travel through because it is a labyrinth which no one could hear if someone scream. The symbolic of political is Manfred and Isabella is the sexual property who is entrapped by prince.

The Monk by Matthew Lewis creates a hallmark of gothic fiction; when a man falls from grace through greed, pride, and lust. “The Castle of Otranto” projected the same idea that The Monk display. Manfred is aware of the throne being stolen from the rightful heir and tried to reproduce to continue his legacy due to greed and wanted to rape Isabella with his erotic behavior.


  1. Helen Lopez

    Cindy I agree with you that Manfred tries to trap Isabella even though she tries to escape, he wants to use his powers to trap her. Isabella feels scared and confused how can he desire her if he was the father of who haw she was going to marry and he’s married , but since he’s the prince he feels that he has the power and wants to force her to forget his son because he died and marry him.

  2. Laura Westengard

    Nice analysis of the castle! The Monk is definitely Gothic, but it isn’t a recent book. What have you watched or read that was created in the last 20 years that might be Gothic?

    • Cindy R

      I was not aware that the “hallmark of gothic fiction” has to be within the 20th year gap due no written indication on the assignment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *